Genzyme has reached an out-of-court settlement with Cytochroma over alleged misappropriation by Cytochroma staff of vitamin D-related trade secrets owned by the US biotechnology company. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Genzyme filed the complaint in August 2006, in the US District Court for the Western district of Winconsin, claiming that three former staff of Bone Care International (BCI) applied for patents on new Vitamin D products based on “confidential and proprietary information” from within BCI, a company Genzyme bought in July 2005 for an estimated $600 million.

BCI employees launch new group

In September 2006, the three plaintiffs started up a new company, Proventiv, which was recently purchased by Cytochroma, a Canadian firm that develops products to treat Vitamin D deficiency and chronic kidney disease. Following the acquisition, the three employees became executive officers in Cytochroma.

Commenting on the decision, Dr Alan Lewis, chairman of the Board said: “Cytochroma has remained on track for meeting its financing and clinical development milestones despite the intercurrent lawsuit. The recent settlement with Genzyme adds further momentum to Cytochroma for achieving its corporate objectives.”

The company currently has a psoriasis candidate in Phase II clinical development and is developing a portfolio of products to address hyperphosphatemia in chronic kidney disease, including novel antibody products.

BCI, a company that specialised in vitamin D products, was best-known for its Vitamin D drug Hectoral, which is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism for patients undergoing chronic renal dialysis.